The Senate of Michigan Technological University



Within one year of the adoption of this proposal by the Board of Control, each department will establish a charter which will include procedures for the following activities:

  1. Departmental governance
  2. Searching for a chairperson or director
  3. Evaluation and reappointment of the chairperson or director
  4. Approval and amendment of the charter

In this proposal, the word “department” also refers to the schools of Forestry and Wood Products, Business and Engineering Administration, and Technology. These schools are not parts of colleges, so the word “dean” when used to mean the supervisor of a unit refers to the Executive Vice-President/Provost.

The departmental charter shall be valid after it is approved by a simple majority of the Senate constituency of that unit and any other members as determined by that constituency. A copy of the departmental charter shall be placed on file in the Library. The Senate, Dean and Provost shall be notified.

A departmental charter may contain sections dealing with the topics in the attached list and may have provisions similar to the model charter segments attached to this proposal.

Departmental charters will be considered as though they were Senate proposals which, by definition in the Senate constitution, require approval of the President.


Suggested Guidelines for Department Charters

Each department at Michigan Technological University must have a charter. This document may be simple or detailed according to the needs and preferences of the individual departments. Having a written charter will establish guidelines for department governance by defining the responsibilities and duties of the chairperson and of the faculty. Such a document will help reduce uncertainty and help maintain continuity in departmental administration.

The faculty of every department develops the charter which may include the following sections and any other sections deemed appropriate. Sample sections about search for a chairperson and about evaluating a chairperson are attached.


  1. The department charter defines the duties and responsibilities of the chairperson and of the faculty in the following areas or other appropriate areas:
    1. Search and evaluation procedures for the department chairperson and limitations on the number of terms the chairperson may serve.
    2. Hiring of new faculty and the creation of new faculty positions
    3. The process by which the department faculty defines long-term goals and goals for the period of appointment of the chairperson
    4. Developing and implementing tenure and promotion procedures.
    5. Allocating departmental resources such as:
      1. funds available for salary increases
      2. teaching assistantships, general research assistantships, and fellowships
      3. travel funds
      4. external funds and university budget funds
      5. office and laboratory space and equipment
    6. Making teaching assignments and allocating teaching loads
    7. Admitting graduate students
    8. Developing curriculum
    9. Hiring and supervising staff
    10. Changing the charter
    11. Developing other administrative positions
    12. Electing or appointing members of departmental committees and members for the Senate and college and university committees.
    13. Procedure for approving the charter

  2. The charter defines the salary of the chairperson using the following formula:

A = (F + S) * N/9


A = Chairperson’s salary
N = Number of months of pay/year
F = Faculty salary of the candidate for nine months
S = Fixed sum increase in the salary

The department in consultation with the administration establishes the fixed sum increase in the salary (S) and the number of months the chairperson will be paid in a year (N).

The following formula is used for calculating the salary when the chairperson returns to the position of a faculty member.

F = A * 9/N – S

  1. A copy of the charter is kept in the library.




Sample sections about search for a chairperson and about evaluating a chairperson


Search Procedure for Department Chairpersons

The department in consultation with the dean will decide if the search will be restricted to internal candidates or if there will be an open search for internal and external candidates. Final decision about the nature of the search will be reached by a majority vote.

  1. Search Committee: The Committee consists of 3-5 members as described in the department's charter. One member (faculty, staff, or administrator) from outside the department is appointed by the dean. The remaining committee members are elected from tenure track faculty and tenured ranks; candidates for the position are not eligible. The voting body is defined in the charter. The chairperson and associate chairperson of the search committee are elected by the committee at their first meeting.

  2. Selection Process: The dean initiates the search. The department's senator and a representative appointed by the present chairperson conduct the election of the search committee. Candidates for the search committee are defined in the charter. The senator and appointed individual tabulate the results. Ties are resolved by random selection. The senator will request the dean to appoint his/her representative. The senator gives each member of the search committee a copy of this proposal. All members of the department are informed of the names of the search committee by the department senator.

  3. Formulation or Modification of Department Goals: The long- and short-term goals of the department are formulated before the initiation of the search according to the process described in the department charter.

  4. Formulation Process for the Desired Attributes and Qualifications of the Candidate: The committee, with input from the present chairperson, the dean and the Affirmative Action Officer, produces the first draft of the position description (e.g., qualifications, expectations of department growth, etc.) that is in accordance with the charter and university guidelines.

    The committee also produces a document that rank orders the desired attributes (e.g., interpersonal skills, management style, etc.) of the candidate. The position description and the rank ordered list of desired attributes is sent to all faculty and staff of the department.

    These two documents are discussed at a department meeting. Any controversial issues will be settled by a vote. All faculty and staff receive copies of the final version.

  5. Mechanism of Identifying Candidates: The Request for Posting memo should be completed and sent to the Human Resources Office. Faculty should be invited to nominate internal candidates. A nomination needs the support of either (a) 10% of the faculty or (b) two faculty members, whichever is greater.

    Faculty members may support more than one candidate.

    In case of an open search, the position is advertised in appropriate professional journals and publications. Department faculty are encouraged to contact colleagues and send them position descriptions.

  6. Short List of Candidates:

    (a) Open Search: The committee, after reviewing vitae, reference letters and other relevant material, produces a short list of candidates who are invited for an interview. The committee should make every effort to get independent assessments from references not listed by the candidates and should solicit faculty help for identifying appropriate references.

    (b) Internal Search: There is no short list of candidates when the search is restricted to internal candidates only.

  7. Interview Process: Each candidate's vitae is sent to all faculty and staff of the department. The reference letters are accessible (e.g. kept with the secretary) to any member who would like to examine them. No copies of these letters can be made. Each candidate is informed of this process. The search committee sends each candidate of copy of the position description, the long-term and short-term goals and the annual report for the past two years.

    The search committee makes arrangements for each candidate to make two presentations:
    1. A technical presentation in his/her field of specialization that includes trends, directions and opportunities for research in the field.
    2. A presentation that may include, but is not limited to the following issues:
      a. Candidates administrative philosophy and plans for meeting the short- and long-term goals.
      b. The direction of education in the department (e.g. What will and should be the attributes of a graduate 10 years from now?)
      c. Resources needed the attain the goals.

    The search committee makes appointments for the candidate to meet various administrators and other appropriate people.

  8. Selection of the Chairperson: The selection procedure will take place according to the procedures established by the university.

  9. Failure of Search Process: In case no candidate is found acceptable, or if the successful candidate does not accept the offer, the following possibilities should be considered:
    1. The faculty and staff should reexamine its charter and goals, make modifications if necessary, and conduct another vote.
    2. The committee may reopen the nomination process and conduct another vote if the list of internal candidates changes.
    3. Enter into negotiation with the dean for (re)opening the search for external candidates. In case no agreement can be reached, the department can petition the senate to initiate the formation of the University arbitration committee.
    4. The committee may recommend that the dean initiate the process for appointment of an interim chairperson.

  10. Closure: The search committee should inform the senate of any changes it deems necessary in the search procedure.


Evaluation for Reappointment of Chairpersons of Academic Programs.

This describes an evaluation process for a Department Chairperson that will be conducted by a faculty evaluation committee.

  1. Frequency of Evaluation: The chairperson must be evaluated by a faculty evaluation committee in the final year of the chairperson's term.
    The process may be initiated by the chairperson at any time for validating his/her authority but not more than once a year.
    The dean of the college initiates the process if the chairperson will be dismissed before his/her term expires.

  2. The Evaluation Committee for the Chairperson of the Department: The committee consists of 3 members elected from the faculty on tenure track or within the tenured ranks. The voting body in each department will be described in the department's charter. The chairperson and associate chairperson of the evaluation committee will be elected by the committee at their first closed meeting. The tenure track and tenured faculty are all candidates for the evaluation committee. The voting body will be asked to choose the appropriate number of names using the senate standard balloting procedures. The senator and an appointed individual will tabulate the results. Ties will be resolved by picking names from a box.

  3. Self Evaluation by the Department Chairperson: The chairperson must prepare a written report that is distributed to all faculty and staff of the department. This report should include but need not be limited to:
    1. Achievement of the department goals for the period of evaluation.
    2. Budget and its management.
    3. Growth and quality of academic programs.
    4. Future needs and directions of the department.
    5. The charge given to the chairperson or any goal of the department which the chairperson thinks is controversial in the department and the effort the chairperson has made to address the controversy.

      The distribution of this report is followed by a meeting of all members of the department. The purpose of this meeting will be to answer questions and provide clarification about the report.

  4. Questionnaire: A sample questionnaire is attached. This questionnaire will be administered by the committee. Additional questions from the chairperson, or the dean, or the faculty may be added.

  5. Processing of Questionnaire Results: Evaluation forms will be sent to all faculty and staff of the department and collected using the Senate standard balloting procedures by the evaluating committee. The faculty and staff will be given one week to return the completed form to the evaluation committee. Tabulation and statistical analysis will be done for each significant group (faculty, staff, research engineer/scientist, administrator) within the department. At the discretion of the committee a small group may be combined with a larger group for purposes of statistical analysis. Comments from open-ended questions will be synthesized by the committee for each significant group within the department.

    The major accomplishments and problem areas of the chairperson over the period of evaluation are reviewed in summary statements prepared by the evaluation committee. Comments on progress in problem areas identified in the previous evaluations are summarized by the evaluation committee. Results of the previous evaluation may be obtained from the office of the dean.

  6. Chairperson's Response: The Committee will give the chairperson a copy of the tabulated results, the synthesis of the open-ended questions, and summary statements of the committee. The chairperson will be asked if he/she would like to respond to the report before members of the department see it.

    If the chairperson decides not to seek reappointment, then the process is terminated. Subsequently, the members of the department will be informed of the chairperson's decision and all material related to the evaluation process will be destroyed.

  7. Dissemination of Questionnaire Results: A report of the tabulated results, the synthesis of open-ended questions, the summary statements prepared by the committee, and the response of the chairperson will be compiled by the evaluation committee. The committee will arrange a closed meeting for all faculty and staff in the department. Copies of the document described above will be circulated at the meeting. These copies will not be allowed to be taken outside the meeting room. All but two copies of the document will be destroyed after the meeting/meetings. The purpose of the meeting is the dissemination of evaluation material only, and not for discussion of the chairperson's performance.

    One copy of the report will be kept in the office of the dean. Any member of the department may see the evaluation material at any time during the reappointment process at the office of the dean. The second copy will be used in the file described in item 9.

  8. Balloting: A vote on the question below will be conducted using the Senate standard balloting procedure. The ballot will be sent only to the members of the senate constituency in the department and tabulated by the evaluating committee.

    (Name of chairperson) should be reappointed as the (Title of the chairperson) of the (Name of Department)

    Yes _______________________     No ______________________      Undecided ___________________

    All the faculty and staff of the department are informed of the ballot results.

  9. Implementation of Evaluation Results: A file for each department chairperson will be created. This file will contain: the self evaluation of the chairperson, the results of the ballot, the tabulated results of the questionnaire, the synthesis of open-ended questions, the summary statements of the committee, the response of the chairperson, and all the original completed questionnaires. This file will move through the hierarchy of the administration: Dean, Provost, and the President. The file will be disposed of as per the decision of the administration.

    If 2/3 of the cast vote supports the reappointment or dismissal and that 2/3 of the vote is greater or equal to 50% of the department voting constituency, then the administration is obligated to accept the results of the ballot.

    When the administration decides contrary to a simple majority vote, the dean is required to explain the reasons for that decision in writing to the members of the department. In case of reappointment, the reappointment will be subject to the following conditions:
    1. The term of reappointment will be for one year renewable for one additional year.
    2. Evaluation and balloting as described in items 2 through 9 will be conducted yearly.
    3. The chairperson will be dismissed if he/she is unable to obtain a simple majority of the vote cast during either one year appointment.
    4. After the above two year process the chairperson can be given a regular term appointment

  10. Report by Dean: For all reappointments, the person above the chairperson must prepare a written statement on the strengths and weaknesses of the chairperson and the department, including but not limited to the following areas:
    1. Guidance and management of the quality and growth of the academic programs within the department.
    2. Guidance and support of research activities within the department.
    3. Practice of sound financial management within the department.
    4. Management and guidance of personnel within the department.
    5. Definition of goals within the department and progress of the department toward these established goals.

      The distribution of the report is followed by a meeting of all members of the department to answer questions and to provide clarifications.

  11. Storage of Reports: The self-evaluation report of the chairperson, the report of the dean, the tabulated results, the synthesis of individual comments, the summary statements of the committee, and the ballot results will be kept in the office of the chairperson's senior and will be supplied to the next evaluation committee. The above documents will be destroyed once the chairperson moves to a different position.

  12. Closure: The committee will inform the senate that the evaluation process has been concluded and offer any recommendations for changes in the evaluation process the committee deems necessary.

Adopted as Amended by Senate: 29 September 1993
Approved by President: 15 February 1994
Approved by Board of Control: 18 March 1994
Became Senate Policy 710.1 and Procedures 506.1.1 and 805.1.1